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Page last updated at 18:01 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 19:01 UK

RFL condemns Cockayne for assault

Ben Cockayne
Cockayne signed a new three-year contract in August

Hull KR's Ben Cockayne could face a Rugby Football League ban after avoiding prison for committing assault.

The 25-year-old full-back was handed a 51-week jail term, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to assault causing actual bodily harm.

"The RFL regards this type of behaviour as totally unacceptable and condemns any violent behaviour or public disorder," an RFL statement read.

It is now deciding whether to impose its own disciplinary sanction.

"The case will be referred to the RFL compliance department in the light of the sentence handed down to him by the courts in order to consider what action needs to be taken against him and whether any further sanction is necessary," the statement added.

In addition to the suspended sentence, Cockayne was ordered to do 240 hours of community service.

Together with Steven Hayward, a part-time player with Castleford Tigers reserves, Cockayne attacked Kiel Thompson in Normanton in November 2007.

The vast majority of rugby league players at all levels are highly disciplined and make a positive contribution to their communities

RFL statement

Hayward, 20, was sentenced to six months in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete 180 hours of community service, while both men were also ordered to pay £250 in compensation and £500 costs.

Thompson suffered swelling and bruising to his face, grazes to the body and bruised ribs after the attack.

Hull KR, who handed Cockayne a new three-year contract last August, issued a short statement following the sentencing.

"As a club we take the court's decision and Ben's sentence very seriously," it read.

"We intend to meet with Ben and his representatives to discuss this outcome, so we are not in the position to offer further comment until this meeting has taken place."

The RFL, who have the power to de-register Cockayne, added: "The RFL does not believe there is any evidence to suggest that such behaviour is widespread within the sport.

"In fact, the vast majority of rugby league players at all levels are highly disciplined and make a positive contribution to their communities.

"The RFL will make any further statements in relation to this case if and when appropriate."

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see also
Rugby star attacker avoids jail
02 Apr 09 |  Humber
Rugby star behind bars for attack
30 Mar 09 |  Humber
Cockayne signs new Hull KR deal
26 Aug 08 |  Hull KR

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